Did you know that January was national Thyroid Awareness Month? Do you ever even think about your thyroid? It’s estimated that about 10% of women have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency, and millions of people have underactive thyroids and don’t even know it.
I’d never given my thyroid much thought until a few weeks ago, when my doctor discovered a “generous” thyroid when she palpated around my neck. So she sent me to get an ultrasound. When multiple nodules were confirmed, she ordered a fine needle aspiration—you know, where a tiny needle gets stabbed (okay, maybe I’m being dramatic) into your neck.
I brought my husband, Aaron, with me for the first time for a medical procedure. Needles are not my friend, and although more than 90% of nodules are benign, I was feeling anxious.
While I waited for the results, I started to speak of my thyroid like a friend—though one that was having a tiff with. I mean, this same thyroid used to let me down many cupcakes with only minor weight gain and regulated my body temperature perfectly. And now it felt like my thyroid was turning on me.
Nobody knows why these nodules show up or why thyroid hormones start to run amok. It runs in families, they tell me, and families with a history of auto-immune diseases are especially susceptible. It’s important to diagnose a thyroid condition early, even before symptoms occur. In the early stages you barely notice anything amiss, but, over time, untreated hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease.
The January/February 2011 issue of Lutheran Woman Today magazine features a very informative and important article about what you need to know about your thyroid.
It turns out that my thyroid lumps were nothing to worry about, so we took her out for dinner to celebrate.
So love thy thyroid, and after you take it dancing, learn what the symptoms of an out-of-whack thyroid are and talk with your doctor about checking to make sure it’s working right.